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Defending self-interests in business and entrepreneurship

January 17, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I was invited to speak today at the Sadhana Center for Management and Leadership in Pune as part of a lecture series called “Learning from Leaders.”   Although I was generally guided to speak about entrepreneurship and leadership based on my 18+ years of experiences in running businesses and investing in them, the “concept note” that accompanied the formal invitation set up the theme as “redefining business: success vs. purpose.”   Expectedly the conference now focused on social responsibility and goaded aspiring MBAs to lead selfless lives in the pursuit of social returns instead of single minded “pursuit of wealth.”

Young minds are impressionable!  And I had to get a real world view into the mix.   The underlying tenet: social programs are capital intensive.  Unless human development occurs via a confluence of self-serving profit motives of investors and socio-economic returns for entrepreneurs, it will not be sustainable.   I propose microfinance as one example of a win-win model driving sustainable development.  Further, I urge the graduating MBA class to focus on their comparative advantages.  Some of them will indeed go on to work on delivering social services.  Others with a wealth building mind set and a propensity for risk will go off and focus on creating economic wealth for themselves.   As long as they pay some of it back to society in some form in the future,  we should support all such legal and moral endeavors.   Else we will soon run out of financial  support for the endless needs of humanity.

My slides are included below for the benefit of the students in the audience.   Viewing them fullscreen helps readability or go to SlideShare to download them.

As I promised these students today, I am working on a separate deck to discuss careers in the VC/PE industry – so watch this space.

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Life
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